A Perspective on Crime & Violence

A Perspective on Crime & Violence

The impetus for this piece came to me as I was watching an action movie (Steven Seagal) when I awoke in the middle of the night due to insomnia. I thought, ‘what a hypocrite I am, I’m always criticizing this society for its violence & social injustices & here I am watching & enjoying the violence of this movie.’ The next thought that came to mind was the inconsistencies or contradictions between what we try to teach kids in our public schools & the realities of their lives.

Is it really any wonder that violence amongst our youth has been on a steady incline since the 1950s? Think about it. Along with the advent of television & the movie industry, each successive generation has become more callous & vicious in behavior & attitude. When I was a teenager growing up in the 1960s, most physical fights were settled with fists. Sure, there were times when someone pulled a knife but it was infrequent. In the 1980s with the spread of gangs like the Bloods & the Crips and the explosion of the drug trade, automatic weapons & drive-by shootings of innocents became commonplace in the inner cities of our major metropolitan cities.

I grew up in a small, industrial town in greater Los Angeles called Paramount. It has saddened my heart to witness the slide down into barbarity from what I still consider the golden, hay-day of the 1960s where we believed we could make this world a better & more equitable place for all. Yeah, we were naïve, romantic, & idealistic but what’s so wrong with that especially when contrasted with the glorification of greed which began in what Reagan dubbed the ‘me decade?’

Reagan is still championed by many so-called conservatives but I argue that he did a lot to open the floodgates of greed, which is inextricably linked to violence in a society. The movie Wall Street which Oliver Stone released in the 1980s is pertinent here because as you may remember, the lead character played by Michael Douglas, gave a speech in which he declared ‘greed is good!’ And under good old Ronnie Reagan, the ‘great communicator,’ we witnessed the Savings & Loan Scandal which wiped-out many peoples’ life savings & the industry was bailed-out by us, the taxpayers. Today, Stone’s movie has been proven to be even more prescient with the bailout of Wall Street .Don’t forget that the Bush-whacker stole the 2000 presidential election with the help of the Supreme Court, FOX ‘News,’ & the spineless mass media.

The overarching issue, which connects most of the violence, greed, & crime in America and around the world, is the unbridled i.e. unregulated corporations, which have been running amok for decades now behind the banner of the ‘free market.’ There is nothing ‘free’ about this illusory market, it has been little more than a very successful public relations campaign or propaganda tool wielded by the power elite or the robber barons. Of course when I or anyone else dares to bring up such accusations, we are written-off as conspiracy theorists, communists, losers, etc. But, if you will take a little time to research what I consider America’s three greatest intellectual treasures; Noam Chomsky, Michael Parenti, & Howard Zinn, your understanding of how we have gotten to this frightening state of affairs will expand exponentially.

I criticize corporate crooks, politicians, media moguls, religious dogmatists, and etc. not because I’m anti-American or hate America but because I still have a spark of that naïve, romantic, idealism of my youth, alive. And I still believe & hope that a better world is possible but to reach that world we have to remove the ideological blinders from our eyes individually & collectively. When people say things like “America, love it or leave it,” they are being absurd, dishonest, & spouting reactionary rhetoric designed to shut you up & close down any honest dialogue.

Terrorism is not an isolated phenomenon & I’m definitely not condoning terrorist acts but simply trying to show people that the roots of terrorism often grow from the greedy & ruthless acts of U.S. multinational corporations as well as the other members of the G-8 (France, Germany, the U.K., Japan, etc.). And just as the poor, the suffering, and the dying of foreign countries, our poor all too often turn to crime & violence as the seemingly only way out in a society & world that has all but eliminated any other options. Desperate times create desperate people. This was true in Charles Dickens’ time & it’s been true throughout history. If you can’t feed yourself or your family, if your education has been so pathetic that you can’t even make change or fill-out a job application, if you have no health insurance, if you are homeless, etc., what are your options? They are the drug trade, robbing, stealing, etc. Television parades a plethora of material signs of success in front of us 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and those who can’t get these symbols of status & ‘success,’ or even the basic necessities of life, unfortunately take the road of crime & violence.

Yet we overlook what to me are the obvious connections & of far more consequence to us as a society and for all humanity i.e. the corporate crocodiles who are raping, pillaging, & plundering the world. Tragically, the majority of us aren’t aware of the history of most of our military operations around the globe for the past half-century. All too often, our soldiers have been sent into harm’s way to protect corrupt dictators who have been robbing their people blind & sharing the spoils with U.S. transnational corporations. Check out United Fruit Corporation for example and the Bush family’s connections to it.

I know this is a lot to take in & I could go into much greater detail but that’s what I’m doing in my magnum opus which I have been toiling away at for the past several years. Violence takes many forms, some not so obvious to the casual observer but nonetheless, just as lethal as those gun-toting thugs who prowl our streets. And no, I’m not so naïve to think that we can ever do away with greed & violence altogether. But, I do believe we have become way too lax & accepting of the moral & ethical degeneration amongst our political & business elite. The street-level violence is a corollary of the violence in the corporate suites around the world. If I had to narrow it down to what is the single, most crucial step we could take towards realizing that ideal we were taught in school, equality, it would be that we have to seriously rein-in the corporate cockroaches infesting our planet!

Again, at the risk of sounding like a ‘nut-case,’ reflect on the violence that permeates our lives via the television & the big screen. We glorify the violence & destruction of war, of the police, of physical combat between men in the arena, etc. but who owns & controls the corporate media & could they have an agenda? You may think me too cynical or jaded but I believe there is ample evidence to support the accusation that they see us as useful only as consumers & as tools for their exploitation. And the P.R. industry as well as the advertising industry have tapped-into the secret of motivating & controlling people by appealing to their baser instincts & emotions. Consider if you will have masterfully the Bush administration ala Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, etc. have manipulated us into a false war in Iraq & Afghanistan, and have undermined the very foundations of our democracy with their so-called “Patriot Act,” & “Homeland Security.” And no, I don’t mean to scare you as well but if we continue to bury our heads in the sand, we could find ourselves in one of those horrific movie versions of the future like Road Warrior with Mel Gibson. It’s not too late and if enough of us turn off the boob tube a little more often & start reading and talking to one another, perhaps we can reclaim our natural right to life, liberty, & the pursuit of happiness?

—Rob DeLoss, November 11, 2008

17 replies
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    reviews says:

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    • admin
      admin says:

      thanks again and please keep on reading and commenting. I don’t have all the answers and see this as an open-ended conversation. Love hearing from people as to what they think about the subjects I write about.

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    • admin
      admin says:

      Welcome back and thanks. I can’t say for sure as to how often I update my blog site. I started this site by posting perhaps a hundred essays I’d written over the past several years and I’m in the process of adding tag words, pics, etc. to make them more interesting. I also write new essays sometimes once a week and sometimes more frequently. Also trying to keep up with responding to people who leave comments such as yourself. So hope you won’t be disappointed? Let me know what you think on any subject because it’s the feedback that keeps me writing i.e. feeling my efforts are appreciated.

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    Car Forums says:

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      admin says:

      Thanks my friend. I wouldn’t call myself an expert on anything except learning. It’s the positive feedback from people like you that reassures me that I’m doing something worthwhile. I’m just fumbling in the darkness.

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